Ding Dong Bell

Original Text: 
Mother Goose's Melody: A facsimile reproduction of the earliest known edition, ed. W. F. Prideaux (London: A. H. Bullein, 1904): 25. DeLury Collection F, Fisher Rare Book Library. The original is Mother Goose's Melody: or, Sonnets for the Cradle (London: Francis Power, 1791).
2The cat is in the well.
3Who put her in?
4Little Johnny Green.
5What a naughty boy was that,
6To drown poor Pussy cat.
7Who never did any harm,
8And kill'd the mice in his father's barn.


1] "Nursery rhyme reformers have recently taken particular objection to `Ding, dong, bell', claiming that children have been known to throw cats into ponds through the direct influence of this rhyme." The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, ed. Iona and Peter Opie (1951; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966), no. 134, p. 149. Perhaps the standard version today, rendered by the Opies as follows, mitigates the crime by adding a rescuer:
Ding, dong, bell,
Pussy's in the well.
Who put her in?
Little Johnny Green.
Who pulled her put?
Little Tommy Stout.
What a naughty boy was that,
To try to drown poor pussy cat,
Who never did him any harm,
And killed the mice in his father's barn.
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Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.